Are we just talking round succession planning or talking about it?

Succession planning seems to be a hot topic in the rural community and but business consultant and succession planning specialist, Louise Taylor, is concerned that we are talking ‘round it’ and not ‘about it’.   Mrs Taylor is a qualified with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors as an Evaluative Mediator and uses her facilitation skills to help farming families have the, often difficult, conversation about the future of the family farm.

“One of the areas that has been identified by the government as vital to the future of UK farming is getting the land into the hands of the appropriately trained and making it easier for the wearying farmer to allow someone else to farm his land,” says Louise who has studied succession planning to Masters Level.  From her experience in the field Mrs Taylor finds that whilst succession planning is a buzz phrase in the industry, there are many families who are unable, or unwilling, to have a conversation with the rest of the family about the future of the farm.  She reports that this can be for a wide variety of reasons but predominantly it is either fear of conflict within the family or simply not knowing where to go for good professional advice. Mrs Taylor goes on to explain that there can be a great deal of familial history in farming families, often going back generations, making it difficult to effect change and develop a coherent business plan.

Mrs Taylor works with families all over the UK facilitating conversations, matching professional advisors to clients where necessary and helping to develop a workable and sustainable plan for the future of the family farm.  “Once we get the conversation started,” says Louise, “we are often able to address long-standing problems, both perceived or real, and unlock potential. “

Louise Taylor is managing director of Taylor Millbrook and partner in Barbers Rural Consultancy and specialises in Succession Planning.  Contact Louise on 01630 692500 or louise@taylormillbrook.co.uk.

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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.